October 7, 2007

I Hate People

I absolutely hate people that try and argue that World of Warcraft's Player vs. Player (PvP) is balanced. It is not, will never be, and can never be. Why can it never be? Gear, levels, and most of all because it is a class based system revolving around the heal, damage, and tank trinity.

It is inevitable anytime that I have a bad day in World of Warcraft that I get into an argument about its PvP balance. The conversations almost always end in the infamous quote: "lrn2play". Translated, it means "Learn to play your class better."

Well, I play a Shaman and have played one since the late stages of WoW's beta. I play my shaman better than most and have continually topped DPS and kill charts in game to the amazement of supposed "top DPS" classes. I do all of this without conforming to the "flavor of the month" Shaman builds or gear setups. I do it because I know what works for me as a player and build accordingly.

Today, the "lrn2play" phrase was thrown out by someone claiming to have a level 70 Shaman. According to them, shamans are a good class and shamans like me just need to "lrn2play". To top it off, the player was actually playing a Mage at the time, and said that anytime I want a lesson about Shamans just let them know.

This threw me over the edge, because I have more time on my Shaman than most people have playing World of Warcraft. I played a Shaman before this certain player even knew World of Warcraft existed. Sure, I'm not level 70, but that is because I don't chase expansions and levels on a hardcore pace anymore. However, level should NEVER be taken as an indication of a player's skill.

Getting back to WoW's PvP balance, I just want to state that I fully feel that WoW has turned into the most unbalanced PvP game on the market. There is no game that has worse class balance. No, not even Dark Ages of Camelot was/is this bad. DAoC had a single major class imbalance and only for a brief period. WoW has had a class balance issue since day one and has done nothing to improve it, and Blizzard couldn't improve it even if they wanted too.

WoW is a gear driven game at max level. It is a level driven game until that point. Thrown into the mix is the fact that it is a class based game. So, WoW's issues start to appear as certain classes scale better with gear (Warriors) and other classes have almost no reliance on gear at all (Warlocks). Warriors, for example, are powder puffs until they are sufficiently geared. On the other hand, warlocks are a terror regardless of their gear level and just become more insane the farther they climb.

These are very base examples, but this is a rant and I don't feel like going deeper. Anyone that plays WoW knows these two examples are spot on and the only people that argue otherwise are Warriors and Warlocks.

This is getting long, so let me sum it up. By observing the results of Arena matches, any player can determine which classes are overpowered. On top of this, any player and most definitely Blizzard should be able to realize the overpowered combination of classes and skills. But all of this is mute data, because World of Warcraft will never change from a gear centric game and therefore can never hope for a semblance of PvP class balance. Without an "end" to gear levels there can never be a point to start balancing.

Blizzard will continue to tweak classes here and there. Sometimes it will improve a class. Sometimes it will not. Eventually, it will lead to a class becoming overpowered and maybe that is the best thing that can happen to World of Warcraft. Instead of having a few dominating classes and skills, WoW can have a 100% insanely overpowered epeen fest that ends fights even faster than the current average of 30 seconds.